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Zombie Tales: Good Eatin’ A series of vignettes about the world overtaken with zombies. The first story begins on a strong note but the first half was less engaging, it takes the second half for the real ghoulish tales to come out.

Zombies are by far the ultimate supernatural baddie because they have no rhyme or reason. Their only urge is destruction at all costs and because of that there is no way to out-smart a zombie. I think ultimately zombie-stories are about the fear of pack-mentality within society. What can we, as individuals, do when we’re faced with the wall of opposition that is “what the majority thinks”? Fighting zombies is about fighting against the status-quo and daring to blaze a new direction that hasn’t yet been figured out.


While Zombie Tales is an easy enjoyable read, a few of the stories could have been developed into longer versions, while still others were perfect in their brevity. Headshot and Lucky Dog were just long enough for the twist at the end to pay off. The short-story is an important sub-genre of horror because it allows for you to identity with the magnitude of the situation characters face, with none of the attachment. It’s so much easier to delight in the destruction of life in a short-story format because there is no guilt attached: a single slice of horror, half the calories. What both of these managed to capture was the delight in the mayhem zombies can create.

Backbiter, on the other hand was so deliciously evil it needs to be re-imagined as a full-length graphic novel. It was like the horror version of an Archie comic and everything from the design aesthetic to the Tarantino-esque visuals and pacing was too fun to end so soon.

28 Days Later: London Calling is the first in a series of graphic novels attempting to bridge the gap between the first film by the same name and its sequel. The narrative begins with Selena, a survivor from the first film now relocated into a refugee camp for those who managed to make it off the island of the UK after the infection have decimated so many. The plot sees her return to the sight of infection that follows a similar logic as behind Jurassic Park 2. I mean you want her to go back because she’s a kick-ass zombie-killer but there is NEVER any good logical explanation for why anyone would return!

In any event the high-stakes are raised immediately with the infected lurking in every corner. There is one particularly chilling scene that involves something soft to land-on but not without a price.

I would recommend Zombie Tales for those looking for a light bit of quick reading but 28 Days Later more-so for fans of the film looking to find out what happened to Selena post-escape from zombie-island.

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Teen fiction and science fiction/fantasy/horror have a lot more in common than initially meets the eye: and I’m not talking about reading-level. Both are about larger-than-life events that parable the everyday struggles of everyday people. But more than that both are about monsters within each of us.

Think about it:

Half the fun of books like Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars is the bad-girl protagonist. What would drive the plot if there wasn’t an element of delight in reveling in the bad behavior of characters you might want to emulate at times, but wouldn’t because of social decorum?

The bad girl is very much a monster and not unlike a vampire:

–         Pretty, but hiding a secret sinister plot (check)
–         Out for blood (check)
–         Recoils at the sight of crosses (check)

Following that trajectory we have Fat Vampire, a coming-of-age story about becoming a man, but also a monster. The story is about a schlubby teen who is accidentally turned into a vampire which ultimately changes him for the worse. The parable is blatant: that period where teens are on the road to self-discovery usually makes them jerks in their own selfish wants and needs.

Doug begins to see that as a vampire he has power and as a result he begins to treat the people in his life like pawns. I think Adam Rex is trying to get his presumed-male readers to step back from themselves and consider if what they want is always worth what it takes to get it. A moral that requires a monster to tell it!

This is exactly what Hanna does in her genre, this time for girl-readers in Pretty Little Liars. The joy of reading both is living vicariously through them while hopefully checking our own impulses!

The message in teen books and in fantasy/sci-fi/horror often overlaps: Check the monster within or deal with the consequences!

Who do you think is deadlier?:

–         Doug from Fat Vampire
–         Hanna from Pretty Little Liars

How can werewolves battle dragons? Werewolves are very, highly flammable. They can’t fly. They may have claws and teeth but they don’t have a great, long tail to flick their foes out of their way. We dragons have long been held in esteem and for good reason. Dragons are magical, mystical and wise. Dragons are also covered in body armour.

 Those werewolf teeth and claws can’t penetrate dragon scales which are prized by wizards and warriors! Our dragon scales are excellent protection, tempered by our own fire, as armour it is undefeatable.

 

Fire, so warm, so bright, so very dangerous to fur bearing animals. They cringe away from fire, even just a lit match makes them nervous. What hope do werewolves have against a dragon who can breathe fire? A quick blast of flame and the werewolves will be running for their very lives.  In battle, the smell of burnt dog is not appealing. Dragons are very clean (the rumours about sulfur are not true) creatures. Being clean is important for aerodynamics.

 

Before the werewolves can regroup for an attack dragons will be gone, flying high above them. No matter how high a werewolf manages to jump it can’t catch a dragon in flight. The battle would be over before it really began. Dragons can easily fly above the pack of werewolves just shooting fire down upon them. What hope do the poor furries have?

Even on the ground the dragon still has the surprise element, a tail that isn’t just for wagging around, stirring up dust motes. A quick flick of the dragon’s tail and the werewolves will be scattered, wounded and lost. Just think of how much damage a dragon’s tail can really do to those bodies armoured in mere fur.

 

Dragon wisdom is well known. While werewolves are out hunting for small forest creatures dragons are building hoards of treasure, including books of great knowledge. Yes, dragons hunt too. But, dragons don’t settle for small animals which are only small meals. A dragon picks up something to make a real meal, like a werewolf, for instance. Saves time for more reading rather than all that time hunting for silly little rabbits, mice and such.

Dragons can be all sizes, massively Godzilla-like or cosy and petite, perfect for perching on shoulders and whispering advice into all the right ears. We do have a lot of knowledge. Unlike werewolves we spend our immortal time in the quest for knowledge, to gain intelligence and inspiration for ourselves and others. Dragons are very helpful, or at least as helpful as we want to be at any given time.

Don’t think dragons are too egotistical. Dragons are proud but reasonable and well mannered too. Don’t assume the werewolf thing has not been researched. The werewolves in Kelley Armstrong’s books have done a lot to make them look good, clever even. Rachel Vincent’s werecats have been a popular choice. Likely because dragons have more in common with cats than dogs. Dogs just aren’t as clever, nimble and mysterious as dragons and cats.

Do werewolves have anything like DragonCon? A convention for dragon lovers/ fans.

Dragons like reading the Dragon Septs series by Katie MacAlisterGena Showalter has the Atlantis series featuring dragon warriors. There are the Black Dragon Brotherhood books by J.R. Ward, though only one of the men turns into a dragon, during battle. Still, the books are an example of the impact dragons have on human culture, the admiration and esteem given to dragons.  It’s one thing to be feared throughout history but quite another to be feared and admired! Don’t forget the favourite of many, the Dragon Riders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey, not new but worth finding. Other notables include Tanith Lee, Mercedes LackeyPatricia C. Wrede, Robin McKinley and Stephanie Rowe (her Immortally Sexy series which sadly seems to be at an end).

Then there are paranormal writers (Michelle Rowen, Lynsay Sands and Kerrelyn Sparks) who should be writing about dragons, but have not yet. Why not?

Before I end this Undeath Match post I must admit I am biased to the side of the dragons. I was born in the Year of the Dragon. So many great and wonderful people were. Dragons are the only mystical animal in the Chinese zodiac. I think they gives us something extra to live up to!

– Laura, http://www.thatgrrl.ca

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